Monthly Archives: December 2015

Uncanny Erratic: The Spooky Majesty of Agassiz Rock

1870s stereoview, Little Agassiz Rock

“Something weird happened here”–I wish there was a single word to describe that feeling, or a simple explanation of where it comes from. The scientific part of me wants to chalk it up to an eerie atmosphere combined with the unrivaled ability of the human imagination to spew spooky bullshit. The paranormal enthusiast part of me, meanwhile, wants to hide under the covers and spin theories about undocumented slaughters in antediluvian ages.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at some cool rocks.

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Ruins in the Woods: The Abandoned Estate of Frederick Law Olmsted

An entrance gate to the one-time estate of architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

An entrance gate to the one-time home of architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

I can’t remember the name of the place, or even how we got there.

I realize that may dissatisfy some of my readers, but it’s the truth. I wasn’t paying much attention when I drove out to the woods with my cousin and her friend a few weeks ago. I didn’t know there was anything to pay attention to. As far as I’d been told, we were simply killing time by taking a stroll through a beautiful–but otherwise unremarkable–New England nature preserve.

It was only forty minutes into our walk that my cousin’s friend turned to me and asked: “Do you want to see the abandoned mansion?

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From Witch City to Ghost Town

Patrick Dougherty, Sticksworks, Salem, Massachusetts

After the tourists leave, Salem’s witch shops try to make ends meet

(This feature article was originally written for a class. The names of people and places have been changed by request–I have no desire to piss off a witch!)

It’s the beginning of November, and Essex Street stands abandoned.

Three weeks ago, the pedestrian mall in downtown Salem was so crowded, it seemed half the world had converged on a single spot. The street’s paving bricks were obscured by the crush. Its t-shirt carts nearly foundered amid a flood of goths, New Agers, and drag queens. Like a black-and-orange beacon, the approach of Halloween had drawn together hundreds of refugees from the fringes of society. Their houses were in Newton, Beverly, or a dozen other suburbs scattered across the country. But during the month of October, Salem was their home. Continue reading